What Is The Law On Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death law, which applies to tort cases, is designed to compensate for harm to a person which resulted in death. A wrongful death lawsuit holds that dependents or beneficiaries of the person who died or was killed are entitled to monetary damages from the party who is legally liable for the death due to its negligence or other liabilities. Unique to its own jurisdiction, each state in the U.S. has passed “wrongful death statutes”.

These damages may be sued for by the victim’s estate or heirs although eligibility of family members differs from state to state. Fees such as physician bills, hospital bills, therapy, and ambulance bills as well as the loss of income and loss of future income can be devastating for family members that are already suffering from emotional distress caused by the loss of a parent or guardian.

In accordance with the law, a civil wrong or “tort” that is considered a crime and is punishable by imprisonment is recognized as grounds for a lawsuit. The primary objective of tort law is to provide relief through compensation to injured parties for damages caused by others. Among the types of recoverable damages are:

  • Loss of earning capacity (including both present and future expected losses)
  • Loss of pension benefits (or some inheritances) caused by the victim’s death
  • Emotional distress to the family
  • Medical and funeral expenses
  • Loss of care, protection, or companionship to the family

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